Or – “The Return Of The Greatest X-Man Of Them All!” 

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It has been many years since the original five X-Men teamed up to battle various fat, bald, ugly pro-wrestler types.  In the ensuing years, seemingly hundreds of mutants have joined various incarnations of the X-Franchise, but everybody seems to forget the FIRST mutant recruit to join the then-handful of X-Kids…  The man called The Mimic.  In a world gone mad, where no one’s loyalties can be easily discerned, this legendary lost hero has returned, to once again spearhead the team he once led.

(Oh, there’s some other guys in this book, too…)

Previously, on Uncanny X-Men:  Many years ago, Charles Xavier set out to create a better world, a world where mutants like himself and normal humans could live in peace and harmony.  And to create that better world, he chose to dress teenagers in spandex and make XM1.jpgthem fight.  (Stranger ideas about a better world have been forwarded…  Anybody remember the Kellogg brothers?)  In any case, this simple idea worked (sort of) and led to more kids in spandex, until it seemed like you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting someone wearing yellow spandex and an “X” belt.  But, as with any leader, Xavier eventually found his followers outgrowing him, and the Xavier school became a huge sprawling Xavier Academy and relocated to the west coast.  His first student, Scott Summers, has now replaced him as headmaster, and along with his ice queen girlfriend, has made the X-Men into something that Charles might not even recognize.  Recent events have led to the near-eradication of all mutants, and Scott has discovered that his girlfriend has been working with Norman Osborn and his Illumi-Naughty, causing them to break up, sort of.  Emma has been given her role in the new world order (lead a new team of X-Men ala the Dark Avengers) while Scott fights a guerilla war against the establishment, aided by additional teenagers in spandex.  Meanwhile. Henry P. McCoy, aka the Beast, has been captured by Osborn and has discovered a familiar voice in Norman’s holding cells…

In the wake of events spinning out of last week’s Utopia kickoff issue, the city of San Francisco is in flames, as mutants and humans alike riot in the streets.  The Iron Patriot and Professor X fill the various channels with entreaties of peace, while Cyclops and his X-Men fight off the assault of the Dark Avengers.  Most disturbing though, is the situation of The Beast, incarcerated at Alcatraz, trapped and involved in a telepathic conversation with a fellow prisoner… Professor X?  It seems that Norman has captured the former leader of the X-Men for some nefarious purpose, and while Charles tries to communicate, Hank finds himself unsure that he’s not being played the head of HAMMER.  Of course, the presence of his own evil twin (The Dark Beast, from the Age of Apocalypse) doesn’t help anyone’s credibility either, especially when Dark Beast straps Regular Beast into something called the Omega Machine.  At the same time, onboard the orbiting helicarrier, Norman Osborn and another Professor X meet with Emma Frost, introducing her to her new squad… The All-New All-Different X-Men!

We’ve had much discussion here at Major Spoilers over who they are, but most of the guesses from the faithful spoilerites were dead on.  Her agents include: Cloak, darkforce manipulator.  Dagger, energy manipulator.  Wolverine Jr, offspring of the original clawed cash machine.  Weapon Omega, late of Omega Flight, super-mutant with the powers of a ton of other mutants.  The Mimic, likewise.  Emma is onboard with these choices (especially their general power levels, somewhere between “Holy $#!+” and “Please stop annihilating me now”) but wants to know why this “Professor X” doesn’t read as an Omega-level telepath.  Cue the shapeshift, as Mystique rears her red and blue skull-embossed head.  The White Queen agrees to Normie’s terms, but insists that she be allowed to run the team her way.  To that end, she has made one tiny little adjustment to the team’s roster:  The original mutant, Namor the Sub-Mariner.  Norman is impressed with her initiative (you should excuse the expression) and the White Queen immediately goes on nationwide television to announce that San Francisco is under curfew, and anyone out and about at night will be breaking the law.  At his hidden base, Cyclops finds himself impressed by his girl’s ingenuity, but is horrified to watch a group of renegade mutants led by Hellion makes a public stand and takes a public beatdown.  “Okay, Emma,” says a resolute Cyclops.  “I think it’s time I had a talk with Norman Osborn.”

What this issue does well is position both Cyclops and the White Queen as power-players, with Emma playing a long game and Cyclops uncharacteristically getting his hands dirty with some field work.  A virtual army of mutants appears, in various permutations that we are not expecting (including the presence of Sunspot, who I thought was now with the New Mutants) and overall, there’s a lot of familiar faces and “Hey, it’s that guy” going on.  The plot doesn’t really advance the “Mutant vs. Human” conundrum, but it does give us some new takes on it, as well as some big picture thinking that doesn’t usually show it’s face in comic book punchemups.  The Dark X-Men lineup is an interesting one but I don’t think that it’s nearly the focus that the advertising for this arc made it seem.  Either way, though, it’s an intriguing start to what Marvel swears will be a change in the status quo, and Matt Fraction’s script is sharp as a tack.  Terry Dodson’s art is excellent here, seemingly added grit and texture to his usual smooth line, as befits a story about rioting in the street…  Uncanny X-Men #513 earns a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars, launching Marvel’s latest crossover event in a way that does everything those issues are supposed to do:  it makes me want to know how it all ends.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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21 Comments

  1. mosdef
    July 3, 2009 at 10:41 pm — Reply

    i always thought the greatest x-man was Nightcrawler.

  2. MaximusRift
    July 4, 2009 at 8:38 am — Reply

    mosdef: No, the greatest X-Man is Cyclops. ;p

    Actually, we all have an “Greatest X-Men ever”, don’t we?

  3. Josh P.
    July 4, 2009 at 9:11 am — Reply

    Greatest X-Men ever: Cannonball!

    As for why Sunspot shows up in the book even though he’s in the New Mutants? I believe any mutant ever is fair game to appear in Uncanny X-Men. It’s been that way since issue 500. I’m actually surprised that Sunspot is the only New Mutant to show up.

  4. July 4, 2009 at 9:19 am — Reply

    i always thought the greatest x-man was Nightcrawler.

    Naaaah, you’re thinging of Maggott.

  5. July 4, 2009 at 9:21 am — Reply

    No, the greatest X-Man is Cyclops. ;p

    Cyclops? CYCLOPS???

    That’s like being asked who’s the greatest member of Van Halen and picking the bass player. :)

  6. Gaumer
    July 4, 2009 at 10:22 am — Reply

    I like the Multiple Man but…

    I like this event it just seems like the San Fran riot was forced. Everything seemed fine in all the other x-books and the San Franciscans loved having them there. It seems weird that one anti mutant guy comes to town and now San Fran is a city of rioting haters…

  7. Ricco
    July 4, 2009 at 11:25 am — Reply

    How is Hellion here or in Utopia for that matter? Wasn’t he a prisoner of Bastion? When does this take place X-Force whise? You know I really miss the little *this takes place after or before yadda yadda… Bub* at the beginning of the X-comics.

    The greatest X-Man is obviously Gambit by the way.

  8. LanZelot
    July 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm — Reply

    The greatest X-Men ever is, and always will be: Deadpool…. what? He has an original Marvel Girl costume to prove it :D

  9. Rowan
    July 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm — Reply

    The Greatest X-men is clearly Adam X !!!!

  10. Ricco
    July 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    I guess no one wants to speak of the elephant in the room, or rather the small hairy Canadian, lets call him Smolverine.

  11. lifeisaglitch
    July 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm — Reply

    @Gaumer

    I think you missed something…Trask was pulling a “Gump”

    And the greatest mutant EVAH is Molly Hayes!

  12. Slappy
    July 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    Artie Leech is the Greatest X-man ever!

  13. July 5, 2009 at 2:54 am — Reply

    I couldn’t finish reading this issue because I couldn’t figure out why there were two Professor Xaviers, maybe I should just go with it and give it another shot.

  14. ~wyntermute~
    July 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm — Reply

    Malcolm X. is the greatest X-Man ever. (Yeah, I wanted to wait until I had something semi-original before jumping on the wagon. :D)

  15. July 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    Trask has some kind of mind control powers. That explains the sudden rioting.

    I love how this positions Scott and Emma and I hope it lives up to its potential. I don’t like the two Beast thing though… That could get really confusing.

  16. July 5, 2009 at 6:53 pm — Reply

    Don’t listen to CMonocle!!! That is DARK CMONOCLE from another dimension!!! I am the real CMonocle!

  17. DMC
    July 6, 2009 at 6:03 pm — Reply

    This issue was more of a 3 or 3. IMHO

    Terry’s art is okay but looks rushed in a few panels (Colossus vs Venom), remember Uncanny X-Men #512 came out last week, Terry’s been drawing like crazy. And just like first issue the script could have been better.

    And on a personal note. I wish Fraction had Osborn use Miss Sinister instead of Mystique, she’s a telepath and a shape shifter. Granted Mystique might be more familiar with Professor X’s character, Miss Sinister’s role in Utopia would be a lot more intriguing.

  18. July 6, 2009 at 11:24 pm — Reply

    But Miss Sinister is just silly…

  19. July 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm — Reply

    Wow.. Mimic? … Wow.. I’ve still got his amazingly old origin issue stashed away somewhere *laughs*

  20. Jim
    July 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm — Reply

    Just got around to reading this. It’s a good set up although two issues into the DAv/Xmen crossover, I wish it was a little further along. I would’ve also liked to have seen a bit more of some of these battles. Venom vs. Colossus is such a new and interesting match-up, lay it on me!

    I’m curious where Emma is going with this. This could be a double-cross or maybe she’s always been duplicitous with the X-Men. Anyway, I enjoy Fraction’s take on Uncanny — lot of characters, interesting plots and a bit tongue in cheek at times (I found Osbourne’s “Everyone loves Wolverine” bit pretty funny).

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